Curing what Ails Medical Debt


What credit unions have known all along federal regulation may now agree: For too many years, medical debt and collections have weighed heavy on consumers and members credit scores.

Due to the rising price of medical care, newer high-deductible plans for insurance and inflation, medical debts have become a burden many of our members cannot help or erase. In fact, 58% of debts recorded in 2021 were for medical debt, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Even worse, these collections affect 100 million US consumers or 41% of the adult population. Among the hardest hit areas for medical debt are in the deep south and southeast regions of the US in which many counties experience rates of 30%-40% of consumers with medical debt.

The debts negatively affect members credit scores although the CFPB also finds that medical debt, unlike other kinds, does not accurately predict a consumer’s creditworthiness. In fact, we’ve seen similar changes already on a smaller scale. Last year, the three largest credit agencies – Equifax, Experian, and Transunion – stopped including some medical debt on credit reports, as long as the bills were paid-off or less than $500.

If this debt or the collections thereof does not accurately predict a person’s creditworthiness or risk, why is it even included on the credit report?

That’s a question that’s being answered now as the Biden Administration enacts a plan to introduce federal rules barring medical bills from affecting consumer credit scores. Many credit unions already overlook or disregard medical debt or collections from their loan decisioning. And rightfully so considering members can and do budget for big purchases, payments and monthly costs but few budget for illness, accident or medical emergencies.

Unfortunately, even with great loan decisioning, many in our industry use risk-based pricing to decide loan rates, further hurting these members financially and costing them more each month due to the reporting of their medical debt.

Looking past just loan decisioning, consider the additional costs associated with low credit scoring. From insurance to utility down payments, these members will pay more out for the same services or products than others simply for healthcare-related reasons. The worse their score gets, the bigger the burden to pay for monthly services or to save up the required down payments. Many turn to alternative lenders like payday companies, finance companies and other high-rate lenders for help.

If enacted, the regulation under consideration could be great news not just for our members, but for our financial industry. Our members can save money on down payments with utility companies and get better insurance rates. They can get better loan rates, leaving more money each month for family, fun or what matters most to them. Further, we should see medical-driven bankruptcies fall further, much like it did from 2010 to 2016 when the Affordable Care Act took effect and bankruptcy rates dropped to nearly half. If it produces similar results, we may see fewer member bankruptcies, charge-offs, repossessions, and further improved credit scoring for our members.


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Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Living life by his motto to “Do good even if the world is unfair,” Dexter would also advise his younger self, “It’s hard, but you’re doing good!” Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche


Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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